Montclair boys lacrosse falls in EC tourney
The Montclair boys lacrosse team was looking forward to having another shot at Seton Hall Prep this season and in the county tournament.
But fifth-seeded West Essex had something else in mind in the Essex County Tournament quarterfinal contest on May 1 at Watchung Field in Montclair.
The fourth-seeded Mounties looked good in getting to the county semifinals with a 6-3 lead at halftime, but the second half would be for the Knights.
Montclair fell just short of the goal to reach the ECT semifinals and take on top-seeded Seton Hall Prep as they dropped a 12-11 decision to West Essex in the quarterfinals.
"That was important to play Seton Hall Prep again, but it didn't go our way," Montclair head coach Mike Diehl said after the loss to West Essex. His team lost to the Pirates, 16-6, on April 6.
For Diehl, whose team dropped to 4-7 on the season, he is still looking for his squad to play a full 48 minutes this season. "We still have not played a full four quarters," Diehl said.
The Mounties’ top scorer, senior Luca Ward, had six goals to lead the Montclair scoring. And junior Drew Pfeifer chipped in three goals against West Essex.
While Montclair's defense kept West Essex's top scorer Anthony Drago off the scoresheet in the first half. That was not the case in the second half, in which Drago scored three goals. In addition, the Mounties defense could not hold off the Knights’ second leading scorer, Jack Massotto, who would tally six goals for the four quarters.
For Diehl it came down to more than just mistakes on their defensive side of the field and allowing a dozen goals.
"It wasn't just defense. They earned more possession in the middle of the field and their two best players got hot at the right time," Diehl said, referring to Drago and Massotto.
Montclair was without its top goalie, senior Kyle Alexander, who has missed the last few games with a fractured thumb. In the nets, backup goalie Stefan Mastrodimos, a junior, was between the pipes.
In a back-and-forth fourth quarter, Montclair could not get the last shot on goal.
West Essex's Andrew Adams scored the eventual game-winner with a little more than three minutes remaining in the match.
Montclair had what would turn into their last lead of the game with less than nine minutes left in the match when Ward scored his fifth of six goals with help from junior Simon Miklaszewski. The Ward goal gave the Mounties a 9-8 lead.
But Massotto struck again only 30 seconds later as he fired past Mastrodimos to tie the game at nine.
After West Essex took an 11-9 lead, Pfeifer and Ward fired back with a goal each to tie the game at 11 and give hope to moving on to the ECT semifinals with a little more than three minutes remaining in the contest.
But Montclair struggled to get control of the ball in the final three minutes and the Knights took advantage of it to end the Mounties' hopes of another shot at Seton Hall Prep.
Montclair Boys Lacrosse Schedule
(Games at 4 p.m. unless noted)
May 9 Summit, 4:30 p.m.
May 11 Scotch Plains-Fanwood
May 13 St. Peter's Prep, 11 a.m.
May 16 at Ridgewood, 4:30 p.m.
May 20 Glen Ridge, 7:15 p.m. at Montclair State
May 24 at Livingston